From the plains of Bambiyaryar to the fertile strip of Dawa Dubba and the tips of Gari Hills, residents of Lafey Constituency in Mandera County are known for their nomadic and pastoralist activities.
The constituency was created in 2010 following the promulgation of the Constitution in which the number of constituencies was to be increased to 290.
Lafey borders Somalia, in an area prone to drought and it is inhabited almost exclusively by ethnic Murules. Other communities found in Mandera are the Garre, Degodia, Marhan and the Corner tribes.
Lafey has had at least three Members of Parliament since it was hived from Mandera East and Mandera South constituencies.
Mr Issack Shabaan served the residents between 2013 and 2017 before Mr Abdi Ibrahim Mude took over in 2017.
Raft of goodies for residents
Following the August 9 elections, Mr Mohamed Abdi Abdirahaman trounced Mr Mude and has now unveiled a raft of goodies for the residents.
Riding on the “maendeleo kwa wote” (development for all) mantra as his campaign tool, Mr Abdirahman says he is a pragmatic, visionary leader whom Lafey needs most.
Unlike his two predecessors, Mr Abdirahaman presents a manifesto in which he promises to have a sustainable, secure, peaceful and progressive constituency.
The previous two MPs never made public their manifestos for the constituency, something local political pundits attribute their downfall to.
“People are more enlightened now than before and if you just run empty political campaigns without a clear vision on what you plan to do, then you have yourself to blame,” Mr Hassan Ibrahim said.
Well spelt-out manifesto
According to Mr Ibrahim, the MP-elect managed the 8,062 votes against the outgoing Abdi Mude who polled 4152 because of a well spelt-out manifesto.
In the manifesto, Mr Abdirahaman has pledged to facilitate the fundamental rights, needs and potential of the Lafey people through a democratic forum where every opinion is considered.
“My leadership is about integrity and loyalty to the people of Lafey and I will remain open and transparent in everything I do for my people,” he said.
In leadership, Mr Abdirahaman says accountability, equity, inclusivity, respect and dignity are paramount and he will be pegging his leadership on these virtues.
To deal with the terror activities in the constituency, the MP-elect says he will lobby and collaborate with security agencies at the national government level to improve terms and facilities for the police reservists in the constituency.
“We have to deal with insecurity and with police reservists, we need to improve their working conditions so that they feel motivated as they protect our lives,” he said.
He says another strategy to end insecurity posed by Al-Shabaab militants is to support and implement the constituency community policing plan in collaboration with local and national security apparatus.
He plans to secure patrol vehicles through well-wishers for police reservists in his constituency.
“I will champion for more administrative units including divisions, locations and sub-locations to bring government services close to the people,” he said.
He says his experience in service as Chief Officer for Water, Sanitation, Environment and Natural Resources at the Nairobi City County government will come in handy while delivering his pledges in Lafey.
Before being picked for the Nairobi job in 2018, Mr Abdirahman had served as a nominated MCA in Nairobi between 2013 and 2017. He had been nominated by TNA.
Mr Abdiraham, 35, is the youngest MP among the six elected MPs in Mandera County.
For peaceful coexistence between clans in the constituency, Mr Abdirahaman says he will ensure peace initiatives are promoted by activating peace committees that will address issues enhancing the peaceful coexistence between residents of Lafey and their neighbours.
Residents of Lafey have always clashed with their Mandera South counterparts over boundary issues between the two constituencies.
Ailing health sector
Lafey has an ailing health sector and the new MP says he will ensure the main hospital and the many abandoned dispensaries are fully resourced and functioning.
“I will ensure that all residents of Lafey access free healthcare services through National Health Insurance Fund cover and mobile medical units,” he said, adding that a funeral service vehicle will be provided to residents.
The constituency has a population of 83,557 people as per the 2019 census and only 18,644 are registered voters.
Lafey will see more boreholes drilled to provide clean and reliable water to all settlements, the MP-elect says.
“We want to have all households in Lafey town connected to water and this I will do with funding from my development partners as I will lobby for government agencies to work on the same,” he said.
The education of girls will be given a priority by Mr Abdirahaman who says he will ensure the only girls’ school in the constituency will be adequately resourced.
Plan for students
“I have a plan on how students pursuing medical, engineering and teaching courses will be fully sponsored so that we can have enough human resources back at home,” he said.
With the abolishment of the National Government Constituency Development Fund (NG-CDF), Mr Abdirahaman says he will only achieve his dream through engaging willing donors, lobbying for government projects and his personal funds.
“I understand the task ahead but I am well prepared. I have to get banking facilities to Lafey town, encourage and establish business oriented women groups and lobby for funds from corporates for this purpose,” he said.
Lafey constituency will now have a conducive environment for non-governmental and community based organisations to operate in the next five years, he said.
With five wards, Mr Abdirahaman plans to have electricity supplied to all these units in the constituency and a local airstrip developed to ease transport problems.
“Construction of several roads in the constituency has stalled but I want to push for the completion so that we can enjoy a smooth road network in Lafey connecting to Mandera and Elwak towns,” he said.